Attention, 49ers fans: Don’t overthink this!
The 49ers will beat Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Rain or shine. Likely rain.
No paralysis by analysis, sports fans. Put on your vintage Candlestick rain poncho, tailgate with enthusiasm and place your faith in Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Tashaun Gipson, Trent Williams, Spencer Burford, Arik Armstead . . . need I go on?
We can sit here and go through all the worrywart reasons why you should be filled with anxiety.
— It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season.
— Carroll’s gum-chewing enthusiasm will have the Seahawks loose, with nothing to lose.
— Brock Purdy has never quarterbacked a playoff game.
— A 10-game win streak is ripe for a stumble.
To which I say: The hell with all that.
Here’s my “to wit” list.
— The 49ers are demonstrably better than the Seahawks, having beaten them by an aggregate score of 48-20 in two meetings.
— In those two games, the 49ers out-gained Seattle, 754 yards to 493 yards.
— The “inexperienced” Purdy has led the 49ers to 33.6 points per game in his five starts.
— The 49ers are at home, and not in gloomy, weird Seattle, where those seasonally-affected Pacific Northwesterners create an odd setting.
Besides, who died and made the 2022 Seahawks king? This is not a fearsome team. Russ Wilson, circa 2012, is not walking through that door. Nor is the “Legion of Boom”. The Seahawks defense ranked 25th in points allowed this year, and is missing leading tackler Jordyn Brooks to a torn ACL.
And while we’re at it, while we respect the longevity and relentless enthusiasm of Pete Carroll, he’s not exactly owning January of late. The Seahawks have one playoff win since the 2017 season. That’s one playoff win in the last five years. Carroll has not been a post-season machine, and he’s coming in with a team that, while admirable for earning a post-season berth in a year most everyone figured was destined for the cellar, still finished 9-8 and had to get in with a bit of unexpected magic on the final day of the season.
I’ve seen texts on the KNBR Text Line from the old heads who remember 1987. They use it as a cautionary tale. I’m an old head, too. I remember 1987. For youngsters like Waterboy and Triple E and Copes, here’s the history lesson: the 49ers went 13-2 in 1987, hosted a mediocre Minnesota Vikings team in a divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park in the rain and got stomped and stunned, 36-24. Receiver Anthony Carter had one of the great single-game performances you ever want to see. The old heads wonder: Is Saturday at Levi’s a possible 1987 Vikings moment?
To which I reply, in all intellectual sincerity: Hell no.
First of all, 1987? Child, please. Second of all, no. Just, no.
There are all sorts of football reasons why this won’t happen. As Greg Cosell told us this morning, Kyle Shanahan has five weapons — Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Juszczyk, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk — who he can motion, move and locate all over an offensive set. The film shows Cosell that this makes life very difficult on a defense. The 49ers were 6th in the NFL in points scored.
We might add that Cosell told us a a former NFL head coach told him that Brock Purdy reminds the coach of — wait for it — Joe Montana. But that’s so heady, I can’t really process that right now.
Let’s just get back to beating the Seahawks on Saturday.
Which will happen.
The great Apollo Creed said in “Rocky”, urging kids to stay in school: “Be a thinker, not a stinker.”
While I would never tell a youngster to disavow anything Apollo Creed has to say, I would offer that this is a time to not think too much.
To keep with my Rolodex of dated references, let’s go more Bob Dylan on this one.
Don’t think twice, 49ers fans. It’s all right.